W. William Hanneman
1927 - 2021
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W. William Hanneman
Oct. 17, 1927 - Dec. 12, 2020
The end of an era came to pass on December 12, 2020, with the peaceful, yet sudden, death of W. William Hanneman, Ph.D, at his Monterey, CA home, at the age of 93. Born Walter William Hanneman on Oct. 17, 1927, in Oak Park, IL to Walter Mooney Hanneman and Bernardine Honoria (Sweeney) Hanneman.
Bill, a.k.a. Dr. Hanneman, obtained his undergraduate degrees at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He went on to work as a research analytical chemist for some of the nation's largest corporations; of note, the DuPont Research Lab in Wilmington, DE, the Standard Oil/Chevron Refinery in Richmond, CA, and eventually retired from the Kaiser Center for Technology in Pleasanton, CA.
As a young boy, Bill was introduced to the world of gems and minerals by his father an avid lapidarist, thus beginning his lifelong hobby of gemology.
Rejecting the costly, yet established, pathway to a gemological degree, Dr. Hanneman decided to teach himself. He utilized iconic books, his advanced degrees in chemistry, and with 40 years of experience felt qualified to examine gemology from perspectives far different from those encountered in the "classical trade schools". Dr. Hanneman professed himself to be the world's foremost, S.O.G. (Self Ordained Gemologist) and true to form set out to present an alternative and affordable pathway to gem identification.
Ever the champion of the poor aspiring gemological student Bill took umbrage at the high cost of a gemological education. He believed that anyone with a keen interest in learning about gems should have that opportunity. Convinced he could do better, Bill utilized his insatiable curiosity, analytical mind, and chemistry background to develop and produce his own line of affordable gemological instruments under his name: Hanneman Gemological Instruments. The instruments that he invented, practical inexpensive solutions to cost prohibitive alternatives, are still in use worldwide.
Dr. Hanneman authored numerous articles and books on gemology including: "Pragmatic Spectroscopy for Gemologists," "Diamond Cut Grading Simplified," "Naming Gem Garnets," and his signature book the "Guide to Affordable Gemology" all of which were motivated by his desire to make gemological information affordable and thereby accessible to anyone interested in furthering their education on the subject.
Dr. Hanneman was twice honored by the Accredited Gemologists Association (AGA) with the Antonio C. Bonanno Excellence in Gemology award, an internationally renowned honor conferred upon those who have made important contributions to the field of gemology and a lifetime achievement award for continuously challenging the status quo on gemological issues. Additionally, the International Society of Appraisers presented Dr. Hanneman with their Industry Service Award for contributing to the advancement of the appraisal profession.
Bill always endeavored to share his knowledge with other gemological enthusiasts graciously presenting his concepts through lectures, seminars and workshops with innovation and humor and inspired people for decades. He leaves behind a legacy that is recognized globally in the professional world of gemology.
Bill also left an incredible legacy in the field of fly fishing. As an avid fly fisherman Bill developed the "Hanneman Common Cents System". The world's first objective system for the relative measurement of rod action, power and frequency and was published in RodMaker Magazine and Tenkara Angler Magazine in addition to writing a little book called "What Trout Actually See".
Bill was preceded in death by his loving wife of 65 years, Margaret Marie (Lynch) Hanneman, his parents, his sister Katharine Hanneman Schoenberger, a niece Susan Schoenberger Spencer, and two sons-in-law Cliff Tipton and Steve Jack. He is survived by his four children: Kathleen, Bill, Patricia, and Judith (Peter), his granddaughter Deirdre (Shane), three great-grandchildren: Shane, Kylie and Tyler, a niece Barbara and nephew Peter.
Bill will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him though his memory lives on through the significant contributions he leaves behind.
In keeping with Bill's wishes, no service is planned. Join us in raising a glass to toast a life well lived.

View the online memorial for W. William Hanneman
Published in Monterey Herald Obits on Jan. 3, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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6 entries
January 7, 2021
Dr Bill Hanneman was an inspiration to gemologists everywhere. His inventions and ideas have made gemmology easier for so many. He was a problem solver, was always willing to listen and never hesitated to share his skills and opinions. He could walk the floor in Tucson and was stopped by almost everyone as he made his way. He will be missed.
Duncan Parker
January 6, 2021
What an awesome guy that was laid back and always went with the flow. He was smarter than many of us put together and taught a lot of people throughout his life with all of his inventions, books, and mentorship. He will forever be missed! I’m glad you got to be a part of mine and your great grandchildren’s lives. RIP!
Shane Hayward
January 4, 2021
Bill was a very kind and gentle soul. A man convinced that knowledge that is not shared is knowledge that is lost. I will cherish the memories of the conversations we had when he was living up here Washington State. Ever the humble man, but his imprint on gemology has been HUGE. Bill, you will be missed by all of us who continue to use your instruments today. May every cast of your fly reveal a trout on the line. Until we meet again dear friend, farwell.
John Vivian
January 4, 2021
Dr. H was such an incredible contributor to the gem & mineral sciences and careers. I had the pleasure of meeting him several times over the years at the NAJA ACE-It Conferences. He was a great man and will be missed. To his family, my heart aches for your loss. Peace and comfort be with you.
Shannon Germanos
January 4, 2021
My sincere condolences to his family and his larger gemological family. Losing such a pillar will be greatly felt when we return back to Tucson. Hana Merk
January 3, 2021
Bill will be missed. Thanks for the inspiration and knowledge.
Robert Wilkinson
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